Let me state up front- I am a Bond girl, as in I hear the theme song playing and I’ll mow anyone in my way. I love Bond, James Bond. I’ve read the novels, seen the movies (Hello Daniel Craig, how I’ve loved thee…), so when I heard that two of my favourite comic book writers were going to be doing the James Bond comic book- I was ALL IN. That said, I’m about being balanced, constructive, and trying not to have any preconceived notions on what I think my babe, James, should be about. Which is why I’m grateful for keeping my objectivity list for when I review books, comics, etc. It keeps me real and reminds me to be about the people who make the story, not about my needs and wants. Which gets me back to the amazingness of this series to date. Let’s begin…please cue the theme song.
When issue one opens with a classic James Bond scene of him in bed with a woman, you know I’m smiling. When you realise he’s in bed with a married woman, I’m giggling, especially as her hubby is threatening the universe and Bond at the same time. Gods above, I giggled. Then we get to the Rothko painting forgery and I’m loving the sassy Miss Brandy Keys. Like, I love her. “A painting my employer insured for enough money to buy GOD at a premium.” I cackled. Hard. So hard. (May I tip my hat at both Danny and Vita for this and many other one liners throughout.)
Now, a quick side note about the lettering. It’s perfect. It flows like water, perfectly in sync and beat with each panel and page. Lettering is not just an art form, there’s a rhythm, a science, a pure form of everything to it, and the way it’s handled in these issues is perfect. Lettering is so important; I can’t just explain it any better than that. When you read, notice how your eyes flow over a comic or even in a book, it speaks a lot to lettering.
Back to the storyline, so Keys and her buddy, Reese, are looking for info regarding the stolen Rohtko. As they investigate, things are getting more complex. Yet, as insurance investigators, nothing has been beyond the norm. But when they try to speak to a driver who might have had part of stealing the painting, they end up on the wrong end of a gun—and next to someone they didn’t see coming- James Bond.
Bond ends up taking Reese and Keys to MI6 office, where M speaks to Keys. There’s a history there, one where neither of them go into it, but Bond knows it’s something deep. Reese doesn’t get to play with the others, but later, during a pickup poker game, Reese gets caught cheating by Bond himself. M tells Bond that he needs to work with Keys regarding Gallant Transportation, that it’s more than just blackmail, like they originally suspected. From there, they end up at Harry Collier’s party where things get complicated. (This is a James Bond comic book, everyone…complicated IS the norm.) They recover the Rohtko, they even find info, but Collier gets suspicious of things and Reece…Reece isn’t the most competent of people in this team. Bond wants to believe he knows everything about everything, Keys knows her shit about her world, but this isn’t just the world of art theft, this is bigger. This is also about international blackmail and more. Which is when issue two ends and I’m going, “Danny and Vita, what are you doing to me!?”
Opening of issue three is the past of Keys-how M knows her and why. It’s straightforward, but it says a lot about Keys’ skills. When it transitions back to the story, we see Bond and Keys with the Rohtko, Bond with the evidence he came—and now, there’s a guy trying to stop them as they try to get out. They ask Reese to make a distraction, keep an eye on Harry- which he fails to do, and then get out when Reese’s distraction works all too well.
I won’t spoil the ending, but let’s just say—we’re now hitting a shift in what happens next with Bond. The time with Gallant Transportation and the real story is just now heating up. So, what happens next in issue four? I need to know! Gah! The wait it terrible. I hate waiting. Worse, this is just killing me because—Bond, action, adventure, mystery! I love it.
So, let’s talk about the comic itself a moment. The colours are divine. They’re stunning as is the art itself. The art is not just realistic, but alive. It makes you feel for these characters. You want to just touch James Bond, preferably in every way…shape…wait…that might be just me. Whoops. Ahem. When you take the action sequences, you see the glorious action come to life. The artwork is truly amazing in scope here. Dynamite has done fabulous work here with Gapstur doing the art, Kurichiyanil and Nalty doing the colours. I love Nalty’s work, I am a huge fan, so it’s like coming home again.
This three issue arc is a feast for the soul and the eyes. Whether you’re a James Bond fan for years or you’re just getting into it- this story is yours. Take the time to revel in this lush feel, this golden boy of MI6, this bad boy of secret intelligence. More, let Vita and Danny woo you into this story with their wit, their words, and a deeper storyline than the one you think you see. Let the colours play out along your eyes, let the lines and shadows linger beneath your fingers as you look at each panel with love. This is love, my people. Ian Fleming’s James Bond by Dynamite is a love fest for all things special agent. So, gird your loins, the next issue is coming and who knows where we’re going next!
Ian Fleming’s James Bond #1-3
Writer: Vita Ayala, Danny Lore Colourist: Roshan Kurichiyanil, Rebecca Nalty
Artist: Eric Gapstur Letterer: Ariana Maher
Publisher: Dynamite Editor: Michael Lake
Available: Everywhere comics are sold, Comixology.